Text by Francesca Fontanesi

Miranda July’s career explores a series of human relationships and forms of intimacy, challenging established hierarchies and conventional power dynamics.

Miranda July: New Society
Osservatorio Fondazione Prada, Milan
From March 7th until October 14th, 2024



Curated by Mia Locks, Miranda July: New Society traces three decades of the career of American artist, filmmaker, and writer Miranda July from the ’90s to the present day through short films, performances, and installations. Hosted at the Fondazione Prada and specifically within the spaces of the Osservatorio, the exhibition includes the new work F.A.M.I.L.Y., Falling Apart Meanwhile I Love You, a multichannel installation documenting a year-long collaboration between July and seven performers on Instagram. This project serves as a starting point for exploring the themes present in other performative and collaborative projects of the artist.

Miranda July, July in Love Diamond , 1998.
Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, Oregon. Courtesy Miranda July Studio.

“That the museum is exhibiting my artworks at the Osservatorio and my films at Cinema Godard demonstrates a rare and special commitment to multiplicity”.

– Miranda July

The artistic merits of Miranda July extend to cinema, poetry, acting, app development, and performance art: unlike many other versatile artists, July has achieved tremendous success in each of these fields. After initiating various collaborative DIY performance and cinema projects in the 1990s, she dropped out of university and moved to Portland, changing her surname as a feminist assertion; in 1995, she launched Joanie 4 Jackie, a project that enabled her and other filmmakers to distribute their films through an underground distribution network. July’s earliest performances took place in various punk clubs in the 1990s: among them are The F-A-T-E and I Can – Japan, which occurred respectively at Star Cleaners in San Francisco and the Yoyo A Go Go festival at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, WA. Both capture the artist’s unique voice, a blend of vulnerability, humor, and sense of urgency. Collaboration, performance, and feminist activism have always been at the heart of her career. The underlying thread connecting Miranda July’s seemingly disparate projects is their gradual transformation towards the sublime and introspection: as Locks emphasizes, July’s work explores various human relationships and forms of intimacy, challenging established hierarchies and conventional power dynamics. The artist adopts a pronouncedly feminist stance that permeates the various media used throughout her career.

Miranda July. July, C.M. James, and Zoë Ligon in F.A.M.I.L.Y. (Ceiling), 2024.
Courtesy of Miranda July Studio.

“For a long time, I wanted to write a novel, then I did that. Then I could see that I could do better. And meanwhile, I was making movies and doing art. Usually, I’m alternating between movies and written projects and do art when I’m in between”.

– Miranda July

The exhibition at Fondazione Prada is accompanied by a retrospective of the artist’s filmography at Cinema Godard of Fondazione Prada: the program includes three feature films, Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005), The Future (2011), and Kajillionaire (2020), along with a selection of short films and unpublished works on the big screen. The first floor of the Osservatorio instead presents a significant documentation of her early performances in punk venues up to the most recognized ones, such as Love Diamond (1998-2000), The Swan Tool (2000-2003), Things We Don’t Understand and Definitely Are Not Going to Talk About (2006-2007), and New Society (2015). On the second floor, F.A.M.I.L.Y. is exhibited, along with two other collaborative projects: I’m the President, Baby (2018) and Services (2020). The exhibition also includes a reiteration of Learning to Love You More (2000-2007), an online project realized in collaboration with Harrell Fletcher, which includes seventy assignments given to the public and uploaded online. Number 43, (Create an exhibition with the works you find at your parents’ house), completed by a Milanese woman specifically for this exhibition project, will be presented as part of the exhibition. On this occasion, Fondazione Prada presents a new illustrated publication from the Quaderni series, which includes a conversation between Miranda July and Cindy Sherman.

Miranda July, Ripped Poster , 2017.
Published by Printed Matter, New York. Courtesy of Miranda July Studio.
John Hawkes (“Richard”) and July (“Christine”) in Me and You and Everyone We Know , 2005.
Photo by Phoebe Sudrow. Courtesy of IFC Center, New York.

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